Former wrestler wages personal battle against cancer - FOX 10 News |

Former wrestler wages personal battle against cancer

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Betty Murphy has made a career out of fighting like a lady. For 20 years, the fierce lady wrestled professionally as Joyce Grable, one of the original bad girls of wrestling.

Now 60 and retired, Betty is facing a different kind of fight. She's a patient at Emory's Winship Cancer Institute. She's battling MDS -- a blood disorder that often progresses into a form of leukemia. And, although the arena has changed, she's still a very tough opponent and not letting it slow her down.

This week, Betty began intense chemotherapy intended to destroy her cancerous bone marrow.  After she was diagnosed last fall, her sister stepped up to be her donor. Betty's sister turned out to be a good match. Betty underwent a bone marrow transplant using healthy stem cells donated by her sister.

But, before her infusion, Betty had one more thing to do: complete a five-kilometer road race! She did it – right on the 8th floor of Emory University Hospital.

The patients are too sick to be a part of the Atlanta "Be the Match" walk and run this weekend, so along with the staff, they have organized their own walk.
Many of the patients, like Darlene Peleyo, don't have a matching bone marrow donor in their family. Only about a third of blood disorder patients do. So they're waiting and counting on "Be the Match" and the National Marrow Donor Registry to help them find a stranger willing to be their donor.

Betty joined them, even though she was minutes from her own stem cell transplant. In May, she was inducted in the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. It was her crowing moment. But she said that the walk was also a pretty big day.

The Atlanta "Be the Match" walk/run will be held Saturday morning at Atlantic Station. Click here for more information.

Click here to find out how to register as a bone marrow donor.



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